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Resolve to practise more and learn from bad boards

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It is now nearly 2024 and I’d like to wish you all a wonderful new year and I hope that this year and the other ones ahead bring you all good things.

Be sure to add a few bridge new year’s resolutions to your list – practise more, discuss the bad boards and see where you could have improved, be even more horrible to partner, etc. – so the years ahead bring improvements to your game. The better you play, the better the results and the game certainly becomes a lot more enjoyable.

This week’s hand (see Figure 1) is another beauty as South found an ironclad way to make his contract based on the bidding – and all because of one really important card in Declarer’s hand – the ten of clubs.

Figure 1

South opened one heart and West bid three clubs, showing a non-opening hand with long clubs – the hand is a bit strong for that but West was trying to cramp the bidding space. Once North bid three hearts South had an easy road to four hearts, which became the final contract.

West led the King of clubs. When dummy went down, declarer counted nine winners and there would be ten if East began with the Ace of spades.

Declarer asked himself, “Is that the only option?” While West’s pre-empt in clubs strongly suggested that the Ace of spades would be on his right, declarer proceeded to show why he answered the question in the negative. After winning the first trick with the Ace of clubs, declarer drew trumps in three rounds. He cashed the King and Ace of diamonds, eliminating that suit.

Now, rather than lead a spade from dummy, declarer called for a low club. West took declarer’s ten of clubs with the Jack and continued with the Queen of clubs.

As declarer had to lose at least two spades no matter how he played, he decided to lose one of them now and discarded the four of spades from his hand. West was now end-played in this position (see Figure 2).

Figure 2

If he exited in a minor suit, declarer would ruff it in dummy for his tenth trick, throwing a spade from hand. When West cashed the Ace of spades, in the hope that East had the King, declarer claimed the rest of the tricks and his contract.

There is an interesting aspect to this hand for those of you who are interested. As it happens, with West having seven clubs, any second club in declarer’s hand would do, but if West had only six clubs and South’s ten were a low club, West could let East win the club exit for a spade switch that defeats the contract.

This game has so many levels, and just keeps on giving!

Happy new year all.

David Ezekiel can be reached at davidezekiel999@gmail.com


Friday, December 22

1. Charles Hall-Molly Taussig

2. Joyce Pearson-Gertrude Barker

3. Barbara Cerra-Pat Cerra

Wednesday, December 27

1. Sheena Rayner-Molly Taussig

2. Peter Donnellan-Lynanne Bolton

3. Stephan Cosham-Rachael Gosling

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Published December 30, 2023 at 7:55 am (Updated December 30, 2023 at 7:25 am)

Resolve to practise more and learn from bad boards

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